NeuRA + Transurban Road Safety Centre
Cox Architecture has designed the new Road Safety Centre new at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) as sponsored by Transurban.
Cox’s site services spanned architecture and interior design, creating an enduring and memorable identity and image for the research organisation; one that not only gives it presence on barker street, but more critically gives it a distinct identity within the international research community.
A ‘serrated or chevron skin’ solution addresses the urban design, technical (reflectivity, solar penetration and geometric) issues on the south and east elevations, while at the same time facilitating a memorable image for NeuRA – addressing their principle brief requirement of “freely poetic and expressive” design.
The interior is a response to the client’s need for rational and flexible research floorplates which afford maximum social exchange and research collaboration.
The new facility sets a world-leading standard in crash simulation. Being the first in 10 years to include a crash test sled in New South Wales, the centre will support research into neural injury and prevention in vehicle accidents, with focus on child safety.
The design required careful detailing by Cox and the consultant team to deal with inground water flows in the underlying sandstone, slab isolation and accurate floor tolerances, and site & space restrictions created significant challenges in fitting large and heavy structural elements to the basement level.
The design includes a sled that can accelerate to 56kmh over just 12 m track length, then decelerate in under 1m with up to 34g force, simulating a moderate-speed frontal impact. Research previously undertaken by NeuRA researchers has led to new knowledge in child safety, and the use of infant restraint devices.
The use of anthropomorphic test devices (ATD’s or “crash test dummies”) require a tightly controlled temperature environment. High speed cameras on a bespoke overhead rig are synchronised with the crash system, to capture the movement during impact. The system is designed to be programmed to produce a tuned deceleration “pulse” calibrated to simulate specific vehicle impacts.
Cox is excited to be a part of this project and lifesaving research through innovative and well considered design.